Moon Tiger

( 13 )

Overview

The elderly Claudia Hampton, a best-sellign author of popular history, lies alone in a London hospital bed. Memories of her life still glow in her fading consciousnes, but she imagines writing a history of the world. Instead, Moon Tiger is her own history, the life of a strong, independent woman, with its often contentious relations with family and friends. At its center -- forever frozen in time, the still point of her turning world -- is the cruelly truncated affair with Tom, a British tank commander who ...
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Moon Tiger

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Overview

The elderly Claudia Hampton, a best-sellign author of popular history, lies alone in a London hospital bed. Memories of her life still glow in her fading consciousnes, but she imagines writing a history of the world. Instead, Moon Tiger is her own history, the life of a strong, independent woman, with its often contentious relations with family and friends. At its center -- forever frozen in time, the still point of her turning world -- is the cruelly truncated affair with Tom, a British tank commander who Claudia knew as a reporter in Egypt during World War II.

Winner of the 1987 Booker Prize

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Lively recently won Britain's prestigious Booker Prize for this deeply moving, elegantly structured novel. The heroine is Claudia Hampton, an unconventional historian and former war correspondent who lies in a hospital bed dying of cancer. Forced inward, Claudia moves randomly across time and place to reconstruct the strata of her life. But ``most lives have their core, their kernel, the vital centre''; Claudia's is the brief, tragic encounter she had in Egypt during the war with Tom Southern, a British tank officer on leave from battle. Tom's voice, along with those of her brother and daughter, joins Claudia's to shape a narrative that is a complex, intricately composed fugue. This haunting evocation of loss is Lively's finest achievement yet.Laurence Hull, Cannon Memorial Lib., Concord, N.C.
New York Times Book Review
"It pulls us in; it engages us and saddens us. It is also unexpectedly funny.... It leaves its traces in the air long after you've put it away."
Boston Globe
"A powerful, moving and beautifully wrought novel about the ways in which lives are molded by personal memory and the collective past."
Publishers Weekly
Winner of the coveted Booker Prize, Moon Tiger is "a novel of exceptional intelligence and depth, by one of England's finest writers."
Telegraph The London Sunday
"Emotionally, Moon Tiger is kaleidoscopic, deeply satisfaying. The all too brief encountere between Claudia and Tom will s urely rate as one of hte most memorable of contemporary fictional affairs. This is one of the best novels I have ready for years."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802135339
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/1997
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 154,656
  • Product dimensions: 5.54 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Penelope Lively

Simon Reade has previously adapted Michael Morpurgo's Toro! Toro! and The Mozart Question as well as the phenomenally successful stage and screen versions of Private Peaceful. His other plays include Aladdin and the Enchanted Lamp, Not the End of the World, The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark, Pride and Prejudice, and for the RSC, Ted Hughes' Tales From Ovid, Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children and Epitaph for the Official Secrets Act.

Good To Know

In her interview with Barnes & Noble.com, Lively shared some fun facts about herself:

"I came late to writing -- I was in my late 30s before I wrote anything. The years before that had been busy with small children, and I seem to have fallen into writing almost by accident. Since then, I have never stopped -- books for children to begin with, then a period writing for both adults and children -- short stories also -- then for adults only when the children's books, sadly, left me."

"It has been a busy 30 years, but because writing is a solitary activity and I like the company of others, I have also always had other involvements -- with writers' organizations such as Britain's Society of Authors, with PEN, with the Royal Society of Literature, and, for six years, as a member of the Board of the British Library (the opposite number of the Library of Congress) which I regarded as a great privilege -- what could be more important than the national archive?"

"I have always been an avid user of libraries; like any writer, much of my inspiration comes from life as it is lived -- what you see and hear and experience, but my novels have sprung from some abiding interest -- the operation of memory, the effects of choice and contingency, the conflicting nature of evidence -- and these concerns are fueled by reading: serendipitous and eclectic reading."

"I am first and foremost a reader myself. I don't think I could write if I wasn't constantly reading. I both wind and unwind by reading -- stimulus and relaxation both. I used to love tramping the landscape, and gardening, but arthritis rules out both of those, so I do both vicariously through books. I live in the city now, but feel out of place -- I have always before lived most of the time in the country: I miss wide skies, weather, seasons."

"Never mind, there are compensations, and London is a very different place from the pinched and bomb-shattered place to which I came as a schoolgirl in 1945 -- now it is multicultural, polyglot, vibrant, unpredictable, in a state of constant change but with that bedrock of permanence that an old place always has. I like to escape from time to time -- mainly to West Somerset, where we have a family cottage and I can admire my daughter's garden -- she has the gardening gene in a big way and is far more skilled than I ever was -- bird-watch, walk a bit, talk to people I've known for decades, and see the night sky crackling with the stars that the city blots out."

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    1. Hometown:
      London, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 17, 1933
    2. Place of Birth:
      Cairo, Egypt
    1. Education:
      Honors Degree in Modern History, University of Oxford, England, 1955

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 13 )
Rating Distribution

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(4)

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(5)

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 5, 2010

    Insightful novel about human realtionships

    I loved this book. The main character is unapologetically unconvential. The author shows that what we think of ourselves is uniquely our own view. No one can experience life as we see it. Similiarly, as well as we know others, we will never know everytning about them. One of my new favorite authors.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Another wonderful story from Ms. Lively

    An observation made over the years is that serious readers have their favorite authors. Penelope Lively has shoved her way onto my favorite list - right near the top. This is writing that you do not forget after the last page has been turned; her characters, writing style, and originality stay with you for a long time. Comparisons to people and circumstances we know are frequent - with the added dimension of nuanced insight. Penelope Lively is a very gifted writer and a pleasure to read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2000

    History's narrative

    This novel was wonderfully written and evokes many different emotions within the reader. What begins as a story of Claudia Hamilton's life, the reader is introduced to a character with a strong personality that touches many different levels of interpretation and interaction. I liked Claudia's strong will, set personality, and the interesting chain of relationships that she develops. The way history is woven, her personal story, draws the reader in. In the beginning, the nurses wonder if this woman was ever 'somebody.' As we dig further into the story we realize that Claudia was a woman with many facets, sure of herself and intimidating to many. In my opinion, the character of her daughter Lisa, who always seems to see herself as a complete opposite of Claudia, seems to me in some ways similar in many ways. The fact that Lisa never reveals the identity of Paul to her mother begins to reveal, in my mind, a side to Lisa's personality that would have made Claudia see a bit of herself in her daughter. Sylvia even envied Claudia. The strength of her personality seems to overshadow many of the weaker personalities around her. The relationship between Gordon and herself was intriguing for many reasons. The fact that she keeps her relationship with Tom to herself also touched me, because there are some parts of our lives, some details so intimate and personal, that to try to explain them or share them seems to diminish their very essence. The thing that seems to strike me most is the way that throughout the story of history, the one detail that will never change, our one constant, is that the story of life goes on with or without us, some having changed or been made better or worse having known us. All we can do is try to make an impression on those we know, to live on in memory, value our accomplishments and company, and let people know that we are 'somebody' in this world. Time is fleeting, as is youth, but the beauty of Claudia's story, and the characters that she interacts with, are far from fleeting. 'Moon Tiger' is a wonderful read that speaks volumes about the narrative that we call history! The structure of writing is cleverly put together. I like the way her chronology jumps. It never gets too scattered to the point of confusion, but allows the reader to follow the flow of her memories, which after all, is all history is--a bunch of memories and facts written down. Some is embellished, some diminished, an interpretation, left for others to either believe or not. This was an excellent book that made me appreciate Claudia's version of history and the realization that where her story stops, a thousand more begin!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2013

    Interesting and Got Me Thinking

    Moon Tiger is the journey of an elderly, dying woman looking back on her life with cleverly inserted stories told by her children and friends at various stages. It brings to light the different perspectives we each have of ourselves and of those we interact with over the years. How different our understandings are sometimes! As an independent female war journalist in the early decades of the 20th century, the main character is a fascinating woman of the sort that led the way to the feminist movement that followed. Her travels and love in the trenches keep the story moving and the character of Claudia, who seems shallow and self-centered at the beginning, becomes an admirable woman at the end. This book has made me think about how all the parts and pieces of my life will eventually fit together.....an interesting proposition to consider.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2012

    I would not recommend this book!

    This is a very strange book, one lady war corresponite making a review.the neglect of her only child was not natural....Just not my style, I only bought because my name is Lively by Marriage now i know they must all be strange

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 14, 2012

    Atavistic

    The writer loved this word. Appeared at least five times.

    Rather enjoyable story most of the time. I found the ending, however, not well conceived. Could have been omitted.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2012

    Highly recommended

    This is a book you will not easily forget.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2000

    Gorgeously & Luminously Written. Brava!

    Penelope Lively has written heart-wrenching and deeply moving books before ('Passing On' for example) but 'Moon Tiger' is to this date her masterpiece. An immensely engaging novel, rich with perfect language and heart stopping emotions. I recommend this book to the world.

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    Posted July 19, 2012

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    Posted December 3, 2008

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    Posted December 3, 2011

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    Posted May 13, 2012

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    Posted December 15, 2011

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